Rewinding / by craig levers

I'm frustrated. One huge book project, The South Seas- New Zealand's Best Surf Revised Edition, is finished and finally at the printers. The other one for this summer is in its last week of layout before proofing and then printing. It is a busy time, a fun time, but a bit stressy. There's always emails from the printers about file clarifications; debossing, foil separations, PMS colours verses the CMYK. 

That is not what the frustration is from. Largely these posts are about what is going on, what photoshoots have been happening and swells chased. But for the last few weeks it has all been about finalising book content. So I can't share those photos and words because it's all going in NZ Surf- The Collection Vol 1. Both books are a couple of months off release date, so it isn't the right time to be doing previews either. Don't worry, you're going to be the first to see anything. 

Dig deep... literally. Go into the archive and find some stuff that's worthy of a revisit, a rewind if you will... 

I don't think this shot of Lennox Heads surfer Stu Kennedy has ever been published before. Shot in 2007, it was part of a week long shoot for Rip Curl in Bali. We got so skunked, in between swells, we all worked hard to make good images in less than ideal conditions. As a photog these are the nightmare gigs. There's huge pressure to produce a silk purse out of a sow's ear. 

I did make this portrait of Stu, Oney Anwar and Ryan Hawker that I was super stoked on. The idea of the trip was that Rip Curl had brought together it's best juniors from Aussie, Indonesia and NZ; a tri nations surf camp. It's pretty cool that Stu is on the WSL tour now. Not that this week, 10 years ago, had anything to do with that. 

And then, sure enough the next week was this! G-land had been a real monkey on my back. I'd been there three times before, thinking that everything was in place for good shoots. Sure enough, the boat was broken or the driver had quit, forcing me to try and swim with the housing and a fisheye lens... G-land is not the place for a fish eye- it's just to wide a playing field. But this time everything was dialled. Boat- check... full moon check, swell check. Not only that but Miles Ratima was Camp Liaison guy for the season, so we had the best hook ups. 

Miles defo in his happy place- G-land 2007. 

Ben Kennings G-Land 2005, yeah see what I mean, not a place for a fish-eye lens. Well there's always an exception to the rule. But this trip was pretty brutal, the boat for shooting from was organised and again the boat driver mysteriously went MIA. The only way to get images was to swim out, I spent 5 hours a day treading water trying to get a roll of 36 exposures. It was a very low yield to effort ratio. But I did get a covershot, the shot in the sequence before this frame. 

Benny circa 1998??? In the Makorori carpark.

I've kind of made G-land out to be terrible, it wasn't ever, this is Troy Reilly on a trip in 2002. 

Troy at Shippies 2000. 

Bit of a Troy section huh! This is another shot that I don't think has ever been run. In 2005 I got asked help trial the idea of Heli-surfing charters out of Ardmore Aerodrome. We found this random slab, Troy, Hayden Brain and Kerin Van Der Helder charged it. 

Troy is originally from Napier. So is Jeremy Evans aka the HBJama. This was shoot on a trip to the NSW South Coast, we got our tyres slashed by a local hot head even after agreeing not to shoot a certain spot. The boys were fired up for retribution, but we moved on and scored this beach every day for a week by ourselves. 

The Jama tour 2006. Sam Willis, Blair Stewart, Jezza Evans and his cousin Simon Deken Ulladulla Pub styles. 

Luke Hughes' dad Craig Hughes spent a lot of time in Ulladulla. This is not the South Coast though. It's ET's in Tonga, perhaps the best right hander in the South Pacific. We scored, it was an epic trip, 2005. 

The grommies! Luke Hughes sneaking in a cheeky westside with Skeet and Deano Amess at the favoured Tongan abode, Ha'a' tafu and the Burling clan. 

It's rights in the summer and lefts in the winter. This was a crazy fun trip with Maz Quinn, Marc Moore, Motu Mataa, Jordan Barley and co the year Maz qualified for the World Tour 1999. 

Board crunching fun aye Maz. 

It's scary to think this shot of James Fowell is a few months off being 20 years old. Mud Bay Jan 1998.

James 10 years later, 2007, tearing up a Gizzy Island right.

From The Galleries

This image features in The South Seas- New Zealand's Best Surf Revised Edition, there you go a cheeky sneak preview. You can check it out larger, LIKE it [pleeeease] and of course buy it by clicking through on the image to it's web page.